The whitening toothpaste that can make teeth darker: Advert starring Katy Hill banned after customers say product didn't work
01:00 GMT, 17 October 2012
TV commercials fronted by Blue Peter’s Katy Hill insisted that Arm & Hammer’s Advanced Whitening toothpaste could deliver a shiny, bright smile – just like hers.
But now the ads have been banned after it emerged that 43 per cent of those who used the toothpaste said their teeth looked the same or darker afterwards.
A clinical trial carried out by the manufacturer had proved that two in five users – 39per cent – ended up with teeth that were up to three shades whiter.
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Katy Hill promoted the toothpaste which consumers complained did not work
Arm and Hammer advanced whitening toothpaste suffered a blow when the ASA ruled the advert as misleading
However, the same research found that a larger number – 43per cent – either saw no improvement or were left with darker teeth.
One in four users in a four week trial – 25per cent – had darker teeth, while 18per cent saw no change.
The truth has emerged following an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority(ASA), which has now banned the commercial from screens.
The Arm & Hammer brand was founded in the US 150 years ago on the basis of using baking soda to gently clean and buff the teeth.
It is one of the market leaders in a market that generates sales of hundreds of millions of pounds around the globe.
Consequently, the ASA’s decision is a huge commercial blow to the American company behind the popular product, Church & Dwight.
The commercial, which was shown hundreds of times, featured the much admired former Blue Peter presenter running her fingers through a bowl of baking soda and heralding its benefits.
She said: ‘See this, it’s baking soda, an amazing natural cleaner. And it’s in every tube of Arm & Hammer Toothpaste.
‘Try this, lick your teeth. Feel rough The baking soda removes this rough feeling to give you a wow deep clean and whitens teeth brilliantly.’
She added: ‘With advanced whitening, it’s up to three shades whiter. Or your money back.’
The message was reinforced with on-screen text which stated ‘Clinically proven up to 3 shades whiter’.
While the toothpaste packaging was also shown with its statement: ‘Advance Whitening 3 Shades Whiter Clinically Proven for Brilliant White Teeth Long-Lasting Fresh Breath Protection.’
Church & Dwight gave the ASA the results of trials designed to measure colour changes and stain removal to substantiate its claims.
However, the watchdog consulted a dental expert who questioned the quality of the study and its results.
The ASA said: ‘The study showed that 39per cent of subjects’ teeth were three or more shades whiter after four weeks use of the toothpaste.
‘However, although the mean shade change after four weeks was 2.16 shades lighter the results ranged from 13 shades lighter to 5.5 shades darker. ‘In addition, 25per cent of subjects had darker teeth after four weeks and 18per cent saw no change.’
Pearly whites: The TV adverts starring Katy Hill have been banned by the ASA
The ASA said: ‘We considered the ad implied the product would whiten the teeth of regular users, and that some users of the product would achieve up to three shades of perceptible change on an incremental scale.
‘Because the study was not sufficiently robust, and a significant proportion of subjects had darker teeth or no change after using the toothpaste, we concluded the whitening claims had not been substantiated.’
As a result, it said the TV commercial and similar marketing claims made on the company’s website were misleading and should be banned.
VIDEO: White Lies See the advert in question: